Monet in Mind – Claude Monet’s Antibes

Posted: 17th May 2021

Humber Museums Partnership - Monet in Mind – Claude Monet’s Antibes

Claude Monet in the Mediterranean

Claude Monet is arguably the most recognisable of the French Impressionists. His gestural painterly style can be easily recognised and once introduced to his work you can see his outstanding artistic legacy that transcended generations of artists.

Among his fellow Impressionist artists he travelled the most. He had an insatiable appetite for new compositions and sought new pictorial destinations regularly. Monet visited the Mediterranean three times in his life.

Monet’s Antibes 1888 is a spectacular depiction of the Cap d’Antibes, South of France. The composition, with its off centre wind-battered tree, is reminiscent of the Japanese art of which Monet was an avid fan. His home in Giverny houses his collection of Japanese prints to this day and their influence can be seen in many of his works.

Upon painting in the Mediterranean, Monet wrote that he would need ‘a palette of diamonds and jewels’ to depict the effect of the strong sunshine. In Antibes, you can appreciate his skilled capturing of the sunlight striking the sea and his masterful use of colours.

Visit the exhibition to fully appreciate Monet’s Antibes and to find out more about Monet as an artist.

To accompany the Monet, student Callum Smith at Hull College wrote a new piece of music. Callum is a composer studying the Popular Music Performance Degree. An experienced live performance musician with a film and media background. Often creates with a cinematic sound palette. ‘Looking at the artwork, I was drawn in by the solitary tree and wanted an intimate sound with child-like wonder. A reflection on the vulnerability of adolescence but with hope for a bright future. I layered in audio textures to bring across the natural elements to add immersion.’

Inspired by Monet…

Samuel Courtauld, the founder of The Courtauld, wrote poetry about the artworks in his collection. Following in his footsteps many years later, young people aged 16-25 from The Warren Youth Project in Hull, were inspired by Antibes to compose their own creative writing.

Ode to an Unnamed Tree

Not every tree has a purpose,
Not all wood needs a name.
Not every root grows in the right place,
Not all fruit can land on solid ground.
Not every bird will reach those branches,
Not all leaves can be home to insects.
Not every shore has to be empty,
Not all plants get swept away.
Not everyone has to notice it,
Not all people walk on by.
Not every tree is important,
Not all get to be a picture.

By Andrew Gooch

Rhyme From An Unnamed Land

Ancient spider in an ancient tree
Have you any wisdom for me?
What lies have you lived,
What tales have you told,
What trickery did you play on kings of old?

Ancient spider in an ancient tree
Have you any mercy for me?
What threads have you spun,
What lives have you caught,
What kingdoms have you crumbled and turned into naught?

Ancient spider in an ancient tree
Have you any pity for me?
I have lost my crown,
My title, my name,
With your devilish web the only thing I can blame.

By Sarah Magaharan

Image credit: Claude Monet, Antibes (detail), 1888, The Courtauld, London (The Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld